When the Giants announced their initial 60-man player pool back in July, Chris Shaw's name was noticeably absent. San Francisco's 2015 first-round pick has hit at least 20 home runs in four consecutive minor league seasons, and yet Shaw was not among the group of top prospects the Giants invited to train at their alternate site.
It took half the season, but Shaw is there now. The Giants announced Friday that he and pitcher Melvin Adon were joining the player pool.
With the trade deadline just days away, it's certainly possible the timing of Shaw's call-up isn't coincidental, as any player included in a trade this season must be part of the 60-player pool. Manager Gabe Kapler offered a different reasoning Friday, insisting that the team wanted to see how much Shaw has progressed.
"Left-handed bats are valuable right now and certainly Chris has a history of hitting homers and I know how hard he’s been working on his swing recently,” Kapler told Bay Area News Group's Kerry Crowley. “He’s actually been working really hard during this downtime."
After getting 18 at-bats in the big leagues last September, Shaw naturally was disappointed to not be included in the original player pool. But according to Kapler, he has used the time since to try to address some needed areas of improvement.
"It’s been tough,” Kapler said. “I know that he’s definitely wanted to be at our alternate site and unfortunately there’s a limited number of players that can be there at any given time. Certainly that’s not easy for a player to hear that he’s not going to be included in that mix, but since that time he’s been working on his swing and he actually shared that he’s been working extraordinarily hard on his overall athleticism."
Shaw has displayed plenty of power, but has yet to establish himself as a major league player. He's getting another chance to do so now, and within a few days, we'll know if that will come with the Giants or another organization.